a look back

Remembering the Sega Dreamcast on its 17th Birthday

Sega released its last console the Dreamcast 17 years ago today in the United States. The Dreamcast lived a short life, a console to ambitious for its time remembered for some of its most innovative and experimental titles like Shenmue, it truly was a thing of dreams.dreamcast

The Dreamcast saw its original release in Japan on November 27th of 1998 and was Sega’s last shot to get it right after the Saturn failed to compete against the likes of the Playstation and Nintendo 64. I was far too young at the time to appreciate the experimental and groundbreaking games on the console. The vibrant colors and music of Jet Set Radio still hold up today; we can look back on Shenmue as the first game to create a world that felt lived in, day and night cycles, NPC’s on schedules it was all so new then. Sonic saw his first step into real 3D with Sonic Adventure, and I’ll always have a fond memory of the bizarre game that was Seaman. Even the memory card or VMU ( Visual Memory Unit) was unique. I’ll never forget watching my knockout count in Shenmue go up on the VMU’s screen.

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Do you know where sailors hang out?

 

The Dreamcast had a short life. Unable to compete with the popularity of the Xbox and PlayStation 2, Sega discontinued the console in 2001. The price would be lowered in an attempt to offload all of the remaining units, and Sega would get out of the console space in favor of game production.

The Dreamcast will always hold a place in my heart as a dream just a bit too big for its time. It’s important, however, to remember the innovation that the Dreamcast brought foreshadowing how games would evolve. Let me know some of your favorite memories of Sega’s last console in the comments.

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a look back

The Long And Difficult Journey Of Prey

At this year’s E3 Expo, Bethesda announced Prey a game that doesn’t resemble the 2006 release in anything but name. For those that can remember, the original Prey spent over a full decade in development hell, being bounced around from multiple studios. Let’s take a look back at the journey of both Prey and its sequel that never came to be.

Development on Prey began at 3D Realms way back in 1995, even before the release of Quake. The original development underwent multiple designs under the leadership of Tom Hall ( formerly of id software). After putting about a year’s work into the project hall left, to form Ion Storm with the master of Doom and former id associate John Romero.

With Hall’s departure from the project, Prey saw a dramatic shift in plot. Although the game would keep it’s originally planned alien abduction theme, it would now take place on a massive spaceship and star a native American hero by the name of Talon Brave. These elements would end up in the final product despite a name change to the protagonist.

 

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A screen shot of Prey’s original protagonist, Talon Brave

 

Prey’s original claim to fame was that it was to be the first game in its genre to make use of “movable portal technology” a feature that would allow rips in space to be created, moved and reshaped in real time. Such a feature would allow for massive and heavily destructible environments. The tech demos for this portal feature alone drew huge crowds at both E3 1997 and 1998. Like so many builds of Prey before it, this version too would never make it to market. You can still find some old screen shots of Talon Brave and the like from E3 of those years.

In 2001 production began on a new version of Prey in the id Tech 4 engine. This version was shopped out to Human Head Studios and featured the same basic plot with a new but still native American protagonist Tommy. This version was officially announced during a 2K press release on April 26th, 2005. This version of the game was finally released on PC and Xbox 360 on July 11th, 2006 and met with generally good reviews.

 

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Talon Brave eventually became Tommy

 

After nearly ten years Prey had finally made it to market in one form or another, but what was next for the smash hit? On March 14th, 2011 Prey 2 was announced, it was being developed by Human Head Studios in a heavily modified id Tech 4 engine. Prey 2 would focus on U.S. Marshal Killian Samuels, who starts the game on a passenger flight that crashes onto the ship from the original game( a scene depicted in that game). After a short fight with some aliens, Samuels is knocked unconscious. The game then jumps forward a few years. Samuels is now a bounty hunter on the alien world of Exodus, he has no memory of the time before his abduction. After running into Tommy the main character of the original game, Samuels, now aware he is not the only human on Exodus, begins to search for clues to unraveling his past. Finally on October 30th, 2014 Bethesda Softworks confirmed that Prey 2 was cancelled.

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Killian Samuels

It’s certain now that Prey 2 will never see the light of day. Prey lives on through a reboot. On June 12th, 2016 Bethesdas showed a trailer at their E3 press conference for the new Prey. The project is led by Arkane Studio CEO and director Raphael Colantonio and is a reimaging of the IP. Based off the trailer shown, it looks like this version of Prey will be taking place on a space station and is something of a psychological thriller.

So what do you think? Are you excited for the new Prey, or simply disappointed that a true sequel will never see the light of day? Let me know what you think in the comments and as always thanks for reading.

 

 

 

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